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From Fraser's Magazine. our entertainment.* Mr. Ireland, père, proTHE IRELAND FORGERIES.

fessed to honor William Shakspere with alOf course everybody has heard of the Ire- most idolatrous admiration. In his opinion, land forgeries. But it may be suspected

“the bard of Avon was a god among men." that, with the exception of the few who have He would frequently of an evening read one looked into the matter, those who have heard of his plays aloud, to the edification of his know very little more about them than that delighted family. While his son was still a they were connected with an attempt to pass mere lad, he took him as his companion on a off some dramatic writings as the production tour, for the purpose of collecting materials of Shakspere.* The particulars of the case for a work upon the “Warwickshire Avon.” have almost perished in oblivion. An at- Of course, they visited and passed some time tempt to resuscitate them now cannot as. at Stratford, where Mr. Ireland was most suredly be made with a view of pandering diligent, as others have been before and to our literary vanity. Were such a case to after him, in searching for information conoccur in the present day, in the existing state cerning what his son, in his peculiar style, of intercourse with the continent, it would termed “the sublunary career of our dramake us the laughing-stock of Europe. But matic lord.” The search does not appear to recent discussions relative to some other have been very successful; and Mr. Ireland supposed fabrications connected with Shak- seems to have been considerably hoaxed by spere, have re-invested this subject with an a gentleman farmer, the tenant of Cloptoninterest which it appeared to have lost. At house, named Williams—but no relation to any rate, it is an accomplished fact, as our the celebrated “divine ”—who informed him French neighbors say, and cannot be ban- that only a fortnight before he had burnt ished from the history of our literature. So several basketfuls of letters and papers, bunwe must even make the best of it; and per- dles of which had the name of Shakspere haps may hope that our said neighbors will written on them! After having made a large accept this narrative in the propitiatory light purchase of indubitable Shakspere relics, ɔf a national humiliation.

the Irelands returned to town. It is not It is curious to observe how one literary very clear whether it was before or after this forgery breeds another. The affair of Mac- journey that young Ireland was articled to a pherson was hardly out of Horace Walpole's conveyancer, at whose chambers, however, hands, when that of poor Chatterton was he had little or nothing to do. And we all thrown upon them. It was not many years know, from the traditions of our copy-books after that unhappy boy had been consigned of what idleness is the root. Young Hopeto his pauper grave, and while the contro- ful employed much of his leisure in learning versy as to the genuineness of the Rowley to copy old handwritings, in which he atpoems was yet sub judice, that the Ireland tained great facility.* According to his own forgeries first saw the light. There can be no showing, one of the earliest uses to which doubt indeed as to the connecting chain be- he put this talent was to forge a letter as from tween the two last-mentioned impostures. the author of a religious tract dedicated to There was some resemblance between the two dramas; but there was also the most count of the Shakspearian Manuscripts (1796), in

* In a copy of W. H. Ireland's Authentic Aca striking difference. Chatterton's was a trag- the library of the British Museum, is a NS. note, edy; sublime in its working up; terrible in which states that William Henry was a natural its catastrophe. Ireland's afterpiece was son ; that, as the writer had heard, luis baptism the broadest of burlesques. Looking back was registered at St. Clement Danes, under the at both through the interval of years, one

name of William Ilenry Truyn, and that his mother

was a married woman who had separated from her cannot peruse the one without a shudder, husband, and living with Mr. Ireland. The accunor the other without laughter. We pro-racy of this note seems very doubtful. There is ceed to detail the plot of the latter.

certainly no such entry in the register of St. ClemSamuel Ireland was originally a weaver in ent Danes, nor any relating to the family of Ire

land, at least between the ycars 1772 and 1779 inSpitalfields; but in process of time he be-clusive; and in 1794 or 1795, W. 11. Ireland was came a dealer in old books and curiosities, eighteen. There are those still living who know having a house in Norfolk-street, Strand. him, and say they never heard any such rumor What his family consisted of is not exactly from friend or foe. His father always called him known;

but he had at least two sons and Sam, after his brother, who had died ; and in the two daughters. The eldest of the former papers, spoke of him as liis son Samuel William

account he first published of the discovery of the named Samuel, after his father, died young. Tenry. These are apparently trifling, matters ; The other, William Henry, is the hero of but trifles concerning great men become important.

† The anonymous and apocryphal commentator * Thus it appears, on the best evidence, the before referred to says he had been told that this name of the dramatist should be spelt.—Madden's faculty was not contined to old handwriting, but Observations on an Autograph of Shakspere. Lon- that it was also extended to copying orders of addon. 1838.

I mission to the theatre by modern actors.

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Q. Elizabeth. This letter, a sort of presen- to YOUNG IRELAND). It is impossible for tation epistle to the queen, he thrust between me to express the pleasure you have given the cover of the book and the paper, where me by the presentation of this deed. There he pretended to find it. He had written it are the keys of my bookcase: go and take originally on a piece of old paper in common from it whatever you please; I shall refuse ink weakened with water; but the journey- you nothing. man of a bookseller to whom he had shown YOUNG IRELAND (instantly returning the it, gave him-a mixture which much better re-keys into OLD IRELAND's hand). I thank sembled old ink; so with this he again wrote you, Sir, but I shall accept of nothing. out the dedicatory letter, which he presented OLD IRELAND rises from his chair, selects with the book to his father. The old gen- from his books a scarce tract with engraved tleman was gulled and gratified ; and the plates, called "Stokes, the Vaulting Master," amiable son, who, as he says, only made the which he peremptorily insists on YOUNG IREexperiment to see how far he could mystify LAND's accepting. his parent, appears to have had no scruples The family are summoned to supper. of conscience as to the result.

Such at least, we may surmise, was the On another occasion he palmed off on his termination of this touching domestic scene. father a bas-relief portrait of Cromwell, in terra cotta, the work of a modern artist lately such matters at that time, was summoned

Sir Frederick Eden, a great authority in deceased, as an antique, having affixed to next day to inspect the deed. He gave it the back a label, intimating that the head had been a present from Cromwell to his and moreover that the impression on the

as his decided opinion that it was genuine; friend Bradshaw. The conoscentia of the day seal affixed under Shakspere's signature were taken in, and the head was pronounced the undoubted production of the sculptor he supposed to bear, in the language of her

was the representation of a Quintain,t which Simon, the contemporary of the Protector. Mr. Ireland appears to have been so con

aldry, a canting reference to the dramatist's stantly insisting on the probability that some for the authenticity of the deed. It was a

name. Other learned Thebans pronounced day or other some MS. of Shakspere's would

How it came to be so strikes turn up, and on the inestimable value of such great success. a treasure, that his affectionate offspring de- ing of the document itself may have been &

us now-a-days as rather strange. The writtermined to extend the sphere of parental gratification. He had found that his fa- very good imitation of the law writing of the

time; and Shakspere's signature was certher's pleasure in being cheated was quite as great as his own in cheating him." Se tainly not ill done. But the deed was horone evening he laid before him å deed writ- ribly stuffed with covenants that were unten in the law hand of the time of James necessary and, in the language of Chancery, L., purporting to be a lease to one Michael “impertinent;" and the premises demised Fraser and his wife, dated 1610, and bear- Globe theatre by Blackfryers London"!-

were described as “abutting close to the ing the signature of William Shakspeare as the Globe, we may remind the reader, being one of the lessors. This scene as record- situate in Southwark ! S These two points ed by W. H. Ireland, is one of the gravest comedy, and readily moulds itself into a dra- * See W. H. Ireland's Confessions. matic form, with elaborate stage-directions, † There is a curious circumstance connected after the fashion of the German Theatre, or with this seal. In the Miscellaneous Papers pub“ The Rovers," in the Anti-Jacobin :

lished by S. Ireland, a fac-simile is given of the SCENE :-Old Ireland's Library. OLD

signature and seal affixed to the deed. Another

fac-simile of them is given as the frontispiece to IRELAND and Young IRELAND discovered. I'W. H. Ireland's Confessions. The two signatures

Young IRELAND (drawing a deed from have a general but by no means an accurate rehis bosom and presenting it to OLD IRE- semblance: but the seals are as unlike as two seals

can well be. LAND). There, sir! what do you think of

| As some readers may not be sufficiently versed that?

in antiquities to understand this allusion, it may OLD IRELAND (having opened the parch- be as well to state, the quintain was a pole set upment, regarded it for a length of time with right in the ground, generally with a transverse the strictest scrutiny, examined the seals, and beam turning on a pivot, and having a broad plank folded up the instrument, presenting it to persons used to tilt on horseback with a lance or

at one end and a sand-bag at the other, at which YOUNG IRELAND). I certainly believe it to “ Hee that hit not the broad end of the be a genuine deed of the time.

quinten,” says old Stowe, “was of all men laughed YOUNG IRELAND (relurning it immediately to scorne; and lic that hit it full, if he rid not the into OLD IRELAND's hand). If you think it faster, had a sound blow in his necke with a bagge

sull of sand hanged on the other end." 80, I beg your acceptance of it.

☆ Chalmers, in his Apoloyy for the Believers in OLD IRELAND (taking the keys of his li- thé Shakspere papers, had the curious audacity brary from his pocket, and presenting them to contend that this was not a misdescription of



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did not escape the perspicuity of Malone; | stance probably gave rise to the interesting
but what, curiously enough, did escape him discoveries that were afterwards made re-
was the fact that this fabricated deed was in lating to a William Henry Ireland, who had
the main copied from a genuine mortgage, played the dolphin to our Arion and saved
by lease and release, from Shakspere and him from drowning. But this is anticipat-
others which had been printed by Malone ing:
himself. This circumstance accounts for Inquiries were of course made as to where
the.insertion of the covenants that were quite the deed came from. The first account
“insensible,” to borrow another law-term, bruited abroad was, that young Ireland hav-
in the fabricated lease. It is remarkable, ing casually met a gentleman at a coffee-
too, that in the genuine mortgage mention house, and the conversation having turned
is made of a William Ireland, which circum- upon old papers and autographs, the latter

had invited the former to come some morn-
the site of the Globe ; for, he said, and truly enough, ing to his chambers in the Temple and rum,
that the word by meant near to; and the Globe was
on the Bankside, in Southwark, which was not far mage among his old deeds, where he would
from Blackfriars ; the exact site of the theatre, in find autographs enough: and that in this
fact, "abuiting, close to Blackfryers-bridge,” that rummage the deed was discovered. After-
bridge not having been begun till one hundred and wards, however, when papers of more im-
fifty years after the date of the deed!

* See Var. Ed., vol. i. p. 149. The history of portance were produced from the officina,
this deed is rather remarkable. It is dated 11th this account was not deemed of sufficient
March, 1612. In 1768, Mr. Albany Wallis, a solic- circumstance; and the story then ran thus:
itor (of whom, by the way, not very honorable That “the Gentleman,” who was a man of
mention will be made hereafter), found it among fortune, had given the manuscripts to young
the title-deeds of the Rev. Mr. Fetherstonbaugh, of
Oxted, Co. Surrey, and he presented it to Garrick. Ireland in consideration of his having found
In 1790, it was in the possession of Garrick's widow, among the old papers a deed establishing
where Malone saw it. He transcribed the deed and the donor's right to a contested estate; but
made a fac-simile of the signature, both of which that for reasons of his own he especially
he published. In 1796 he again wished to consult wished his name to be concealed, and indeed
the deed, having some doubts of the accuracy.
his fac-simile

, and for that purpose again applied had exacted a solemn promise from the young
to Mrs. Garrick; but the deed, after a diligent man never to divulge it. In fact, this "Gen-
search, was nowhere to be found; but just at the tleman's” identity never proceeded further
same time, Mr. Wallis found among the papers of than an initial: 'he was never any thing
Mr. Fetherstonhaugh the counterpart of the deed,
dated the 10th March, 1612, bearing the dramatist's more substantial than “Mr. H.”
signature, of which Malone published a fac-simile. As it appears the first deed was forged for
In May, 1841, Mr. Troward, the son of a gentleman the mere gratification of Mr. Ireland, senior,
who had been in partnership with Mr. Wallis, pro- so it would seem that there would have been
duced the deed to Sir Frederic Madden, the keeper an end of the matter, but for the constant
of the MSS. in the British Museum, together with
the letter from Mr. Wallis presenting the deed to reiteration of an opinion that other papers
Garrick. Mr. Troward, who had inherited the of Shakspere's might be found by referring
deed from his father, left it to his niece by the to the same source whence the deed had
mother's side, who had married Mr. Filleul, and in been drawn. And true enough, the source
March, 1858, this gentleman again brought the deed
for the inspection of Sir Frederic Madden. On the was referred to, and the find was prodigious.
14th June, the same year, it was sold by auc- Other papers and documents poured in thick
tion at Sotheby's, and purchased for £330 158., for and fast. There were more deeds, and there
the British Museuin, where it now remains, to- were agreements, and love-verses and love-
gether with various documents illustrative of its letters to Anne Hathaway, one enclosing a

The counterpart, of the 10th March, 1612, had lock of “ Willy's ” bair; and papers relatbeen previously sold, in May, 1841, at livans auc- ing to“ William Henry Ireland” above-mention rooms, to Mr. Elkins, for £162 163., and in tioned; and a Profession of Failh ; and letMay, 1843, it was resold at the same rooms, when ters from Q. Elizabeth and Lord SouthampIt was purchased for £145 by the corporation of ton; and to crown all a manuscript, nearly London.

There are undoubtedly some very strange cir- perfect, of King Lear, and another of a porcumstances in this account. The loss of the first tion of Hamlet. Merciful Powers ! how the deed—the simultaneous discovery of the counter- most thinking public were taken in! Mr. part in Mr. Wallis' possession-and the fact of the Ireland's house in Norfolk Street was in a first deed, together with the presentation letter to Garrick, having afterwards found their way back, state of siege. as it were, into the possession of Mr. Wallis' part- Notwithstanding the most ludicrous blunner;-thiese would, in a court of law, throw great ders in orthography, the most palpable ersuspicion on the custody from whiclı the docu- rors in dates, and the most striking instances ments were produced. But notwithstanding all of fabrication in some of the signatures, the this, no doubt, we believe, has ever been entertained by competent judges as to the genuineness mass of the public would believe in the paof both deeds.

pers; and of course they had a right to do


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so, if they chose. “ Jemmy" Boswell, un- that they were “in the possession of a gender the influence of a tumbler of hot brandy tleman in the Temple” was contradicted ; it and water, fell into an ecstasy and down on was announced that among the MSS. was his knees, and reverentially kissing the pa- an unpublished play called Vortigern, which pers gave utterance to a solemn nunc dimit- would soon be offered to public scrutiny; it tis, declaring he should die contented since was stated that profound antiquaries” were he had lived to witness that day. Poor fel- convinced of their authenticity, and that low! he did die not long after,* and his “ the clearest tracing of them from the origeuthanasia was undisturbed by the consci- inal possessors, through age and obscurity, ousness of his having been so egregiously (would) be satisfactorily given.” humbugged. Dr. Parr and Dr. Warton This last announcement there never was having heard Mr. Ireland read the Profes- even any pretence of attempting to make sion of Faitha marvellous piece of puerile good. Malone was already in the field in bombast, which in truth professes nothing the Gentleman's Magazine for the same at all-one of them broke forth into this month, breathing suspicions against the docuJohnsonian criticism“Sir, we have very ments. James Boaden was at that time edifine passages in our church service, and our tor of the Oracle, and was at first a stanch litany, abounds with beauties; but here, sir, believer in the papers, though afterwards he here is a man who has distanced us all!” changed his opinion, and became, after the Young Ireland at first attributed this dictum fashion of apostates, a most violent antagoto Parr, whereat the latter was moved to nist to his former faith. But in his journal most unclerical wrath t-after the discovery for some months appeared various laudatory of the imposture. The eulogy, however, was articles, and sometimes extracts from the assuredly uttered in his presence and not papers themselves. After Boaden had redissented from by him ; and there can be no canted his errors, the Oracle was the princidoubt that he ať first stood at the head of pal medium for the attacks on the papers. the most fanatical of the believers; although Among other squibs appeared a series of in the intemperate note inserted in his cata- feigned extracts from Vortigern. These Mr. logue he says he " was inclined to admit the Ireland thought it necessary publicly to dispossibility of genuineness in (the) papers.” avow, and to declare they had not the smallBoswell had drawn up a declaration of be- est resemblance to the original play; which lief in their authenticity; but Parr, think- was indeed true, for they were much better ing the language too weak, drew up another written than any portion of the play itself, in stronger terms, which was published by so that the object in composing them is not S. Ireland, together with the names of those very clear. who had signed it, including that of the rev- Ireland was so annoyed at the repeated erend doctor.

insinuations that his MSS. were forgeries, Not everybody, however, who saw the that he threatened legal proceedings; but papers, believed in them. Ritson, having he was better advised, and none were taken. scrutinized them, left the house without giv- Meanwhile the volume of Miscellaneous Paing any opinion; but his manner left no pers and Legal Documents, under the hand doubt on young Ireland's mind that he con- and seal of William Shakspeare, was ansidered the papers spurious. Porson, hav- nounced as ready for publication. It was ing examined them, incautiously let fall some issued in December, 1795,-a grand folio, complimentary expressions, whereupon Mr. with fac-similes of the MSS. and certain Ireland was emboldened to ask his signature drawings which had been found in “ the gen. to the Declaration; but the shrewd scholar tleman's” possession. It was published by replied, " I thank you; sir, but I never sub- subscription, the price being four guineas, scribe my name to professions of faith of any and was dedicated" To the Ingenuous, Innature whatsoever." Malone and Steevens telligent, and Disinterested, whose Candour, would never go near the papers.

Conviction, and Support,” etc., etc. The While this was the state of affairs within tragedy of Lear and the fragment of Hamlet doors, all kinds of rumors concerning the were given in the volume. These, we learn discovery were spreading abroad. One of from W. H. Ireland, had been copied from the earliest public notices on the subject ap- quarto editions in the possession of his fapeared in the Oracle for February, 1795. In ther; but as the originals teemed, in the this, reference was made to the “unseen opinion of the former, with passages of ribmalignity” which had “ already been busy” | aldry and matters “unworthy our bard,” the with the invaluable remains ; a report young corrector set to work to expunge these * In 1795-aged fifty-five.

and to interpolate a few lines which he cont ** Ireland told a lie when he imputed to me the sidered more becoming the genius of Shake words which Joseph Warton used,'' etc.-Note in spere. the catalogue of Dr. Larr's books.

Immediately on the appearance of this

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folio, Malone set to work on his Inquiry into was not running at the time. Malone had the Authenticity of (the) Miscellaneous Pa-issued a notice of his forthcoming Inquiry, pers, etc., which he was very anxious to pub- in which he affirmed he had proved the mass lish before Vortigern was acted, but, owing of papers to be a rank forgery. Copies of to the delay in preparing the fac-similes il- this notice were distributed in the avenues lustrating his book, he did not succeed. In of the theatre on the night of the performthe mean time the journals teemed with ar- ance, Ireland, who had had scent of this, ticles

pro and con; and a vast number of issued a counterblast in the shape of a handbooks and pamphlets were published which bill, also distributed to the public, in which, it would be tedious to enumerate.

after referring to the “malevolent and impoHarris and Sheridan had both been anx- tent attack on the Shakspeare MS.,” he reious to secure Vortigern, the former for Co- quested that the play of Vortigern (might) vent Garden, the latter for Drury Lane, but be heard with that candor that (had) ever as Mr. Ireland was on terms of intimacy distinguished a British audience.” The house with the Linley family, Sheridan secured the was crowded. A prologue, written by Mr. prize; * not that he knew or cared much Pye, the poet laurcate, who was one of the about Shakspere ; † but he considered the believers, had been set aside because it did production of the play a good speculation for not sufficiently insist on the authenticity of his theatre. When it was read over to him the play, and another of a more unflinching he thought it was very long and some parts character, by Sir James Burgess, was spoken, of it were rather prosy, if not unpoetical, or rather read, in its place. The audience. but the antiquity of the papers dispelled all listened for some time with patience, but doubts, if indeed he ever seriously enter- they could not long stomach the childish tained any.


copy of the play was placed trash that was set before them; they seized in his hands, the original being deposited at on every trisling incident that was susceptiHammersley's, the banker's. It was an- ble of ridicule, and at length, when Kemble, nounced for performance on Saturday, April who played the principal part, in a long 2nd, † 1796, not as written by Shakspeare, bombastic speech at the beginning of the fifth but simply as a new play in five acts, called act, uttered with peculiar emphasis the line Vortigern." John Kemble, who was stage manager at Drury Lane at the time, and no “And when this solemn mockery is o’er,* better than a downright infidel as regarded there was an awful explosion of laughter and the papers, $ is said to have been very anx- clamor, which was not lessened when the acious to produce the play on the first of April. tor repeated the line with, if possible, more There certainly seems to have been some significant expression. From this time not malice in the French sense) in the announce- a single word of the play was intelligible. ment of the farce of My Grandmother, to The audience had the courtesy to be silent follow the play. At the rival theatre on the during the delivery of the epilogue by Mrs. same night, was played a comedy called The Jordan; and then the uproar recommenced, Lie of the Day, which, though a new piece, and was not appeased till Kemble announced

the School for Scandal for the following * Harris had offered a carte blanche; but Sheri- Monday. dan's terms were not bad-£300 down, and half the profits for the first sixty nights of performance.

Vortigern was, in green-room language, of the £300, young Ireland received only £60, damned. Ireland was very anxious that the and £30 as his share of the half profits of thio first play should have one more trial; but Kemnight; and lic always insisted on this as a proof of ble peremptorily refused again to be made a how disinterested he had been in his forgeries; though £90 could not have been an insignificant

| laughing-stock. amount of pocket money for a conveyancer's clerk

This was the turning point in the affair. of nineteen.

Malone's Inquiry appeared soon after, and | In this respect he resembled Byron, who con- though, as Mathias said, the subject was sidered Shaksperc not only as “ the worst of rather overlaid by the learned critic, he cermodels" (teste Medwin), but also as a “d-d humbug” (teste Moore).

tainly did succeed in proving that the great | Curiously enough Mathias, who, in his Pur- bulk of the Miscellaneous Papers were forsuits of Literature, wrote a passage "10 perpetuate geries. the memory of this extraordinary event in literary history, which seems to be passing into oblivion's * Another curious instance of small inaccuracy (1790), in one of the notes, states that the play was may, be hicre mentioned. In Mr. Knight's English acted'in Murch. But Mathias was often as inaccu-Cyclopedia ( Art. Ireland, W. II.), the line is quoted rate as he was arrogant. In another note, he states thus : there were only two folio editions of Shakspere * And now this solemn mockery is o'er.' published before the one by Rowe.

There is an article on the Ireland papers in the ♡ His sister, Mrs. Siddons, had dcclined a part, Eclectic Magazine, for March, 1849 (New York), aficrwards played by Mrs. Powell, on account of a where the line is givencold under which she conveniently labored.

. I would this solemn mockery were o'er.'

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